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Big Sam rubbishes Ravel rumours

West Ham United's Manager Sam Allardyce on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London. West Ham United's Manager Sam Allardyce on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.

Friday, February 21, 2014
8:00 AM

Hammers boss has his say on Morrison move

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West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has rubbished speculation surrounding his relationship with Ravel Morrison after the midfielder’s controversial loan move to QPR.

Morrison shone for the Hammers in the first half of the season, but has not featured since January and the 21-year-old will spend the rest of the campaign with Championship outfit QPR amid rumours of a fall-out with Allardyce.

But speaking ahead of Saturday’s visit of Southampton the Hammers boss strenuously denied accusations that he put pressure on Morrison to become a client of his agent Mark Curtis.

He said: “It’s completely unfounded. I think that the rumours or allegations have probably been made by Ravel Morrison’s representatives, but there’s no truth in the [accusation] that I have sat with Ravel Morrison and tried to press him into signing with any agent, never mind mine.

“It’s his choice and his decision and not mine, unless he asks me, and he didn’t ask me. I haven’t had a discussion on Ravel signing with Mark Curtis.

“I think that the world that revolves around Ravel is quite unique in terms of the publicity he gets, but there you go.”

West Ham returned for a warm-weather training camp in Dubai over the weekend and will be looking to build on a run of three consecutive 2-0 wins when the Saints come to Upton Park.

The Hammers’ impressive recent form has been built on solid defensive foundations – which has seen them keep four successive clean sheets – and Allardyce is hoping they can avoid any further injuries and finish the season strongly.

“From a clean sheet point of view it was always there until we had our real injury problems in December and January,” he added.

“Prior to that, we started the season with six clean sheets out of 10 games. We had that spell where lots of players were injured, in defence particularly, and we lost that solid base.

“The basis of every winning side is that you have to be good at defending.

“You have to be a sound, solid defensive unit, irrespective of how many talented players you have and how many goals you’re able to score.

“When you look across the board, that is always the basis to start your success from.

“Now we’re keeping clean sheets, scoring goals and I think that’s been a huge turnaround for the whole squad.”

Andy Carroll serves the final match of his three-game ban this weekend and Allardyce is expecting a tough test against Saints, after his side escaped with a point from a goalless draw at St Mary’s earlier in the season.

He added: “At the moment it’s going well, but Southampton, who are back on a winning streak, will provide a very difficult game for us.

“Hopefully in the form that we’re in, we’ll be big enough and strong enough to conquer them.

“We’re not out of the woods yet but I think all of us have made great strides and great efforts.”

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